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  • The Shadow Queen(Black Jewels,Book 7)(50) by Anne Bishop
  • Gray pressed himself against the big stone gardening shed, his limbs trembling, his heart racing, as if his body were still trying to outrun the nightmares that had filled his sleep last night.

    There was a Queen at Grayhaven. He could feel her presence, even out here. She would be living in that suite of rooms, in that room, doing . . . things.

    His back muscles, which had never fully healed on the left side, tightened in response to his fear, threatening to spasm and leave him helpless to run, to hide until she lost interest in looking for him.

    I’m Grayhaven. I’m Grayhaven!

    Theran’s blade. He never betrayed his cousin, had protected Theran in the only way he could. Even when the bitch did those things to him.

    He couldn’t remember that. Couldn’t. Theran was living in the mansion now. With her. No secrets. Not anymore. She knew Theran was the real Grayhaven.

    He couldn’t get near the house. He had tried because Theran was in there, but he couldn’t get near the house. Talon had brought him food last night, and the men who worked in the stables had let him use their toilet and shower so he wouldn’t have to go near the house.

    Her presence tingled under the land, even here at the edge of what had been the formal gardens. He didn’t remember that happening the last time. The gardens had been as close to a safe place as there had been when he’d been a prisoner here. The Queen had him shackled and staked to a long chain, like a pony being put out to graze. Let him stagger around the old gardens—or crawl when his tortured body couldn’t do more. Left him where he could see the dead honey pear tree, the symbol of the Grayhaven Queens who had stood against Dorothea SaDiablo. Dead like their bloodline. Dead for so many years, but kept as a reminder that those Queens had not endured.

    Jared had given that honey pear tree to Lia, who had tended it all her life.

    Who could say if it was the same tree? But everyone believed it was, and that was all that really mattered.

    Hope. Life. Love. All dead, like the tree.

    That’s what the last Queen had taught him.

    Then Talon had found him, rescued him. And with Talon’s help,Theran had done what he could to help Gray rebuild some kind of life.

    He wasn’t what he should have been. He knew that sometimes, could sense that something had been lost.

    He would stay here because Theran was here, and Talon was here. But . . .

    He felt her presence, felt her psychic scent as a heat against his skin.

    But it was a pleasant heat, like beams of sunlight coming through a window on a day in early spring.

    He peered around the corner of the shed and saw her walking toward him. But not looking for him. No, she was looking at the land.

    Her scent said “Queen,” but she didn’t look like a Queen, wasn’t dressed like a Queen. She looked . . . friendly. And her hair . . .

    He watched as she pulled the pins from her hair and it tumbled around her shoulders and down her back.

    He’d never seen red hair. He’d read stories where people had red hair, but he’d never seen anyone in real life. And she had spots on her face. Why did she have spots on her face? Such pale skin. What color were her eyes?

    With his heart pounding, Gray stepped away from the stone shed and walked toward her slowly, fearfully. It wasn’t safe. It wasn’t. But he wanted, needed, to see the color of her eyes.

    Cassidy watched him walk toward her. A good-looking man with a strong physical resemblance to Theran, right down to the dark hair and green eyes. Family, perhaps?

    A well-toned body of a physically active adult male. But his psychic scent said “youth,” even “boy,” which was a sure sign of something wrong, and that wasn’t good because inside that body . . .

    Warlord Prince. Wild. Wounded.

    Mine.

    The thought startled her, made her heart pound because it seemed to recognize something about this man that her mind wasn’t ready to acknowledge.

    This wasn’t the same feeling of recognition that she’d had with the Warlord Princes who were now in her First Circle. This was different. Personal.

    So wounded inside. She could see it in his green eyes now that he was close enough. He looked like he was ready to run, and yet he kept moving toward her as if he couldn’t help himself.

    “Hello,” she said quietly. “I’m Cassidy.”

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire